Librarian Update to 4.01

Reminder: You need to have Java installed on your computer to be able to run the Librarian. If you have the 32-bit version of Java you will only be able to run the 32-bit Librarian even if your OS is 64-bit. If you have a 64-bit Windows Operating System, please check this page for information on which version of Java you should download if you don’t already have it.

Librarian Version 4.01 is an update that fixes a bug in the previous Version 4.00.

The bug prevented the Librarian from correctly interpreting the ‘Heads’ data sent by the Blue Nebula for emulations with numbers between 5 and 15 that use the ‘coded’ ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘E’ and ‘F’ values. It caused the wrong head letter to be received by the Librarian and all head settings became ‘A’ instead of the correct letter value from the Blue Nebula patch. This incorrect value would have been saved in any patch files saved with the Save Patches button in the Librarian. If this patch data was subsequently sent back to the Blue Nebula using the Send All Patches button it will have corrupted the heads value in the Blue Nebula’s patches. You should check and correct the Heads settings in any affected patches and resend them to the Blue Nebula.

The Blue Nebula Firmware 3.02 does not require a fix for this bug, only the Librarian.

The updated software can be downloaded from the Latest Updates Here link above.

Make sure you download the correct version depending on your Windows Operating System: 32-bit or 64-bit. The 32-bit Librarian will work on 64-bit Windows systems but the 64-bit version of Librarian will not work on a 32-bit Windows OS.

The update for Mac OSX will be available as soon as possible.

 

New ‘Firmware Update’ Feature in Librarian

In part prompted by the lack of a Mac OS version of an app to upload firmware revisions to the EchoTapper and Blue Nebula effects units, I decided to add this feature to the Blue Nebula Librarian and also to update the older EchoTapper (eTap2HW) Librarian.

This now means that users of both Windows and Apple Mac OSX computers can update their firmware in both effects units without needing to use a third-party app such as XLoader, which in any case was only available for Windows :-).

Blue Nebula Librarian beginning with Version 4.00 and EchoTapper Librarian from Version 3.00 include this very useful feature and you can download them now from the ‘Latest Updates Here’ link in the menu bar above.

Note to Mac Users: you will need to download and install the Arduino IDE in Applications. Don’t worry, you don’t have to understand it our even need to run it but it contains an application that is required by the Librarian. Windows users do not require the Arduino IDE.

Both Windows and Mac require the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) Version 8 or above to be installed. If you don’t already have it – if Librarian is working you DO have the JRE 🙂 – click here and choose the version of the JRE for your operating system.

Blue Nebula Librarian 4.00

Blue Nebula Librarian 4.00

 

EchoTapper Librarian 3.00

EchoTapper Librarian 3.00

When a firmware update is released the first step is to download and unzip it (if necessary) to your computer from this website and make a note of where you saved it (by default it is usually saved in the Downloads folder). Now connect your Blue Nebula or EchoTapper  to the computer via the USB cable and choose the Serial Port that it is connected to in the usual way. Click the red Firmware Update button at the bottom of the Librarian window and a file browser will open to allow you to locate the file you downloaded previously.

Select the correct file (it will have a .hex extension) and click Open. Depending on the speed of your computer the update takes about 15-30 seconds after which the Blue Nebula/EchoTapper will restart. As your effects unit displays its Welcome screen, you can check that it now shows the version number of the updated firmware to confirm the update has been successful.

Please note that the firmware update ‘disconnects’ the effect unit from the computer’s serial port so if you wish to continue using the Librarian after an update you need to click the Re-scan button and reselect the Serial Port to re-establish contact with the Blue Nebula/EchoTapper.

Blue Nebula Librarian Available for Mac OSX

Hi friends and followers. I know you’ve all been waiting patiently for Part 3 of the ‘Unexpected Journey’ but I’ve been away for a break in beautiful Alcudia in Majorca to recharge my personal batteries.

Part 3 is coming shortly but in the meantime I finally got my hands on a Mac thanks to my good friend David Jamieson and have been able to get the Librarian working on OSX El Capitan Version 10.11.4. It should work with OSX 10.9 or above.

If you don’t already have it installed, you will need to install the Java Runtime Environment (JRE), Version 8 or above. To install this go to the Oracle website here and choose the Mac OS X version. I chose the .dmg one and the latest version “Java SE Runtime Environment 8u92” and it installed without any problems.

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 20.48.23

You will need to download and install the CH340 driver as this is required to be able to connect via USB to the Blue Nebula and I found that the version on this website worked fine. Once you have downloaded the driver zip file double-click on “CH34x_Install.pkg” to install the driver. You may find that your Mac won’t allow the installer to run as ‘Gatekeeper’ requires apps to be signed so if your Mac won’t install it then do the following:

Go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General and click on the padlock at the bottom of the dialog box to enable changes. Under Allow apps downloaded from choose the “Anywhere” option. Close the dialog and the CH340 driver should now install when you double-click the “CH34x_Install.pkg” file. Important: Restart your Mac to activate the new driver.

Run the BN Librarian app by double-clicking it and, if you have a Blue Nebula connected to a USB port on your Mac, when you click on the Serial Port dropdown you should see an entry similar to what I’ve shown in the screenshot above: /dev/cu.wchusbserial* where * will be a number (1440 in the illustration) but this may differ on your computer.

That’s the serial port where your Blue Nebula is connected so click on it to get the Mac and Blue Nebula to start talking to each other. The Blue Nebula resets as usual and after a few seconds it will be ready to communicate with the Librarian running on the Mac.

The Mac OS X and Windows versions of the Blue Nebula Librarian can be downloaded from ‘Latest Updates Here’ on the menu bar above.

 

Librarian and Blue Nebula Version 3.0

The release Version 3.0 of the Blue Nebula firmware and the matching Librarian app Version 3.0 are undergoing final testing and will be released here shortly.

Librarian V3 Screenshot

A quick glance at the new Librarian User Guide (link below) will show you the many interesting features and how it works with the Blue Nebula to give a really unique and exciting new effect pedal experience.

Briefly, the Librarian app allows you to transfer your patches between the Blue Nebula and your computer and it allows you to back them up by saving onto the computer – but it does a LOT more!

It also allows you to edit your patches, for example renaming them or tweaking the parameters, as well as having copy and paste functions and it allows you to create set lists so you can have the tunes arranged in the order you want for a show. The up and down footswitches then allow you to step through the list with the LCD display showing you the name of each tune.

The Blue Nebula comes with 8 vintage echo effects already installed in its first memory chip (MEM 1) but the new Librarian’s biggest and most unique feature is probably its ability to upload another 8 effects via USB to the second memory chip (MEM 2). This updates the effect and parameter names on both the Blue Nebula pedal and in the Librarian app which will recall them next time it’s run so that it always stays in sync with the effects on-board the pedal.

These additional 8 effects can be chosen from a wide range to standard guitar effects that are already available on the internet – many free DSP programs are listed on the Spin Semiconductors website. In addition there are several unique new effects that the Blue Nebula design team is currently working on and we will be making these available (also free) ready to upload to the Blue Nebula via the USB input.

‘Standard’ effects include popular guitar effects including chorus, phaser, flanger, delays and reverbs and the new effects currently in development include emulations of the classic Binson Echorec and an enhanced Vox Long Tom emulation.

User Guide for Librarian Version 3.0 (pdf)

Latest Versions Page Updated

I realized that the version of Firmware 3.30 I posted on the updates page was compiled for a MONO LCD so those who have gone to the expense of fitting an RGB LCD were not getting the benefit so I’ve added a new Version 3.30 compiled for RGB LCDs. You can download all the latest firmware and software by clicking on the ‘Latest Updates Here’ link in the banner above.

The RGB display uses some different screen colours to indicate the different modes that your eTap2HW is operating in. For example:

Setting-MIDI-Channel IMG_7101_7086_edited-1 Advanced-Editing-(pots)

LCD – Common Anode or Common Cathode?

It has come to my attention recently that there are some LCD display modules on sale that are ‘Common Cathode’ types (e.g. this one from SparkFun) , rather than the more common ‘Common Anode’ type (e.g. this one from Adafruit).

Why would you care about this?

Because the two types of display essentially operate with ‘inverted’ logic signals relative to each other, you will probably find that your LCD display is very dark after you upload the ‘wrong’ Automation code. Essentially the ‘common cathode’ type is insisting that white is black and black is white – just like some people we know!

If you’re got an RGB display then all the other colours will not appear as intended either and they won’t match what’s stated in the User Guide.

As a result I’m now providing two versions of the Automation code on the Updates page so make sure you use the correct one for your LCD type.

If, after uploading, your screen is very dark then try the other version.

A handy feature I’ve added to the code (thanks to Eric Thacker for prompting me to implement it), the unit now ‘remembers’ the last preset or user patch that you used and starts up with this when it’s next switched on, rather than always defaulting to Preset 0: Apache. This is actually very convenient if there is a favourite patch you use a lot 🙂

Automation Firmware 3.21

This is a minor improvement to the Automation firmware (software) for the Arduino in your EchoTapper. Taking up a useful suggestion from my Finnish friend Rolf Holmberg, I have changed the number range displayed for the Mix, Program and Feedback knobs, when editing a patch in either the Basic Editor or Advanced Editor modes..

Previously the values were displayed using a range of 0-255 but now the values are shown in a 0-100 range. This should make it a little easier to ‘translate’ from a patch setting to a knob position on a non-automated eTap2HW and vice versa. For example if someone says “I set Feedback to 3.5 for that tune” you can use a value of 35 when setting up a similar patch.

Firmware Version 3.21